The City of Eureka has approximately 230 lane miles of streets, making it the city with the most street mileage in Humboldt County. Streets provide mobility for not only motorists but for cyclists and pedestrians as well. Neither public transportation nor the movement of goods and services would be possible without a system of well-maintained streets. In 2022 it was estimated that the cost to replace the entire city road network would be more than $250 million.
The Public Works Street Paving and Maintenance Program (PWSPMP) maintains City streets through various street rehabilitation treatment types, such as grinding and paving and pavement preservation. Street surfaces must be routinely maintained, renewed, and resurfaced to extend the service life of the pavement by applying the proper treatment type, depending on its current condition.
The PWSPMP is dedicated to keeping the streets in good condition for all users and making improvements strategically and efficiently to ensure safer, smoother, and longer-lasting streets to support the City's multi-modal transportation system.
Managing and Tracking Street Conditions in Eureka
The City uses a Pavement Management Program called StreetSaver®, to systematically organize and analyze immense amounts of inspection data about the condition of our street pavement. StreetSaver® was developed for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission of the Bay Area-based on asset management concepts that help identify cost‐effective strategies for pavement maintenance and rehabilitation. Having a Pavement Management Program (PDF) in place is a requirement for many sources of federal and state grants.
Inspecting Street Conditions in Eureka
Approximately every five years, the City inspects each street to assess the condition of the pavement. During a typical inspection, a trained Materials Engineering Technician heads to a selected City street, determines a representative pavement section, and evaluates a list of defined pavement distresses. Additionally, specialized vehicles will perform automated surveys on higher traffic volume areas. On asphalt roads, the inspector typically looks for and quantifies the extent of alligator cracking, block cracking, distortions, longitudinal and transverse cracking, patching, rutting, depressions, weathering, and raveling (see example photos below). The inspection data is later entered into StreetSaver® which allows calculations about the condition of the roadway to be performed.
Determining a Street's Condition
The term for quantifying a street's condition is called the Street's Pavement Condition Index (PCI). PCIs range from 0 to 100, with higher PCI values indicating better pavement conditions. On the City's 2022 Pavement Condition Map, green indicates Eureka's higher PCI streets, while red shows the streets in the worst condition. In 2022, Eureka's street network was rated at an average PCI of 61 (fair); for comparison, the average PCI in the Bay Area was 66 in 2018.
Street Paving and Maintenance Strategy
The City's Public Works team uses the PCI along with other metrics and tools to determine how various types of maintenance and rehabilitation activities will impact future PCI ratings. This allows the City to apply the most cost-effective improvements to extend pavement life and prioritize street maintenance so as to minimize the effects of long‐term deterioration. Typical types of street maintenance and preservation are discussed below.
Typical Street Rehabilitation Treatments
Micro-Surfacing and Slurry-Sealing Pavement Preservation
Micro-surfacing and slurry-sealing is a pavement preservation treatment that is applied to the existing surface of a street that is in generally good condition. These treatments preserve the asphalt pavement by protecting the surface from the effects of natural aging and the environment. These treatments can extend pavement life at a fraction of the cost of other treatments by rejuvenating the surface of a street and sealing it off to moisture. This treatment is typically the least expensive treatment option available but has its limitations. Micro-surfacing and slurry-sealing are best for low-volume streets and/or streets with little to no cracking.
Grinding and Paving
Grinding and paving is a treatment used on streets that have deteriorated past the point of pavement preservation treatments. The Grinding and Paving treatment is typically performed by first removing or grinding off two inches or so of the existing asphalt surface and then replacing it with the same amount of new asphalt. The cost for this type of treatment is significantly higher than preservation treatments but lower than full reconstruction of a roadway. Many of the City’s streets require grinding and paving due to their current condition.
Full Street Reconstruction
Full street reconstruction is a street treatment in which the street will be fully replaced. The reconstruction of the street will involve a complete removal and replacement of the existing pavement surface (usually three inches or more) and the base (approximately 9 inches of aggregate base) of the street. A new aggregate base is then placed and compacted before one or two layers of asphalt are placed. This is typically the highest cost of all available treatments and is consequently reserved for streets that have substantially deteriorated.
2023 Programmed Road Maintenance Projects Involving Pavement Maintenance and Rehabilitation
- I Street from 6th Street to Harris Street
- H Street from Henderson Street to Harris Street
- H Street from 6th Street to 7th Street
- D Street from 1st Street to 3rd Street
- E Street from 1st Street to 4th Street
- F Street from 1st Street to 4th Street
- G Street from 1st Street to 4th Street
- 2nd Street from C Street to H Street
- 3rd Street from C Street to G Street
- H Street form 2nd Street to 3rd Street
- Fairway Drive from Ridgecrest Drive to South City Limits